You've all seen the news of the devastation in Haiti. It was a not so swell place to live before the earthquake... now made much worse. It is estimated that over 50,000 people have died already.
I know we're all doing what we can. It's important that our money be sent to legitimate charities that have 'feet on the ground'. Both the Jesuit Fathers and the Holy Ghost Fathers are already there, in force. The Jesuits ask that donations be made to the Jesuit Refugee Service-USA, the Spiritans ask that you support Catholic Relief Services. While we usually support the JRS my wife's company, Liberty Mutual, offered a dollar for dollar match on all employee donations to the American Red Cross, so we thought that way best. Perhaps your company does this as well. Another one to keep in mind, and a favorite of Lucinda's, is Doctors Without Borders. Regardless please keep those poor souls in your prayers.
... just a quick note to let people know things are OK (here in Ounimanthe). Five minutes before the earthquake I was out on the street playing the fiddle for a group of kids that came and asked "if I could come out and play?" I was in the house when the quake began and I ran outside when it happened. The aftershocks kept coming even into the evening. The power is out and we are currently getting power from the generator.
The capital, on the other side of the country, was hit hard. We have had no communication from the Jesuits in the capital because phones and cell phones are not working. I expect that the Fe y Alegria School, near the epicenter, probably was hit hard.
- Jim Boynton, S.J.
January 13, 2010
The situation is very serious.
Even though the Ouanaminthe and the Northeast area have not been greatly affected we still feel the aftershocks here. There are thousands of dead bodies currently on the streets of Port-au-Prince. More than 60 percent of the houses have collapsed in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince. The National Palace, the main building offices of the State, schools and institutions that belong to the Catholic Church no longer exist. Residences of religious, the roof of the Cathedral of Port-au-Prince, the Archbishop’s house etc.; all have collapsed. The body of the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince was found under the rubble.
Supermarkets, banks, trade houses, radio and television stations, hospitals ... all have collapsed. The administrator of the General Hospital, the largest health institution in the capital, said it collapsed with many patients already inside and while many wounded were being brought in. People spent the night in the streets and in the open for fear of new collapses following the earthquake. Throughout the night and even this morning there have been many aftershocks.
This morning: UN headquarters in Bourdon collapsed and left 11 dead; among whom are eight Brazilians and three Chinese. A population of 2.5 million in the city of Port-au-Prince is in the state of shock. It will be days before they can get an exact death toll; already there are thousands counted dead.
- Perard C. Monestime, S.J.
January 13, 2010
We are in Canape Vert with Fr. Kawas, S.J. (the Jesuit Superior for Haiti). We visited the Jesuit novitiate in Tabare and later CRS in Delma. The latter is prepared to receive our assistance (water, ready to eat canned food, medicines, hygiene kits, tents). They will receive it in their stores of distribution.
We have not yet reached the most affected parts of the country and yet what we've seen already is disastrous. Many are dead, many have been placed in mass graves. Many others are still under the rubble. After coordinating actions with Kawas we are continuing to the center Port-au-Prince, then on to Carrefour and Cite Soleil. Fr. Kawas tells us these places are those that were most affected by the earthquake.
What is clear is that machinery to rescue people under rubble are not seen. We have seen many people in small camps, covered with sheets. Tents are needed urgently.
Most of all it is water that is needed now.... A water unit has been brought from the Dominican border for that purpose. Portable toilets will certainly be needed. The hospitals are crowded out of medicine and short of staff. Luckily it's not raining, we pray to God no rain falls ....
- Mario Serrano, Director of JRS – Dominican Republic, who is leading a team into the earthquake devastated areas of Haiti.
January 14, 2010
Earthquake in Haiti: Initial Spiritan Perspectives and Community Response
Fr. Jeffrey Duaime, CSSp, President of Holy Ghost Prep, responds to Inquiries about the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti:
"The Spiritans have been working in Haiti since 1870. They presently staff St. Marital College in the heart of Port-au-Prince, three parishes (two in Archdiocese that serves the capital and one in the countryside) and have a seminary program based in Port-au-Prince. There are presently 20 Spiritans working/living in Haiti, all native born. Prayers and support are greatly appreciated for all those impacted by the devastating earthquake."
To offer immediate assistance, please consult the following advice from Fr. Chris Promis, CSSp, of Catholic Relief Services:
At this hour of need I am suggesting you consider donating to Catholic Relief Services. We have programs in Haiti and as I write, our emergency response team is already in action. This is our specialty, coming to the aid of people in a natural disaster.
Also, may I suggest you ask the help of your parishioners or students or those whom you serve to help as well.
You can make an immediate donation by credit card through the website www.crs.org and go to “Donate.” At the bottom there is a space for “special request.” Fill in with “Haiti earthquake relief.” Or you can mail in the donation to: Catholic Relief Services P.O. Box 17090 Baltimore, MD 21203-7090
Thank you very much,
Rev. Christopher P. Promis, C.S.Sp.
Institutional Relations Officer
Catholic Relief Services
228 W. Lexington Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
for more on CRS click Catholic Relief Services labors to get aid to Haiti - baltimoresun.com